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Posts Tagged ‘brown beer’

I.C.A. Malalts De Malta

June 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.3

The first review of a beer that I managed to try on my recent trip to Barcelona now, this is an 11.5% Sapnish brewed quadrupel from the Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana based in Barcelona and it will be my first beer from them, although the Belgian Rye Fruit APA Citra-Mango that I tried in Barcelona last year was brewed by Piris Beer at the I.C.A. brewery. I ordered this one on-tap at the Abirradero bar in the city on my second day in the city since it’s not everyday that I stumble across a kegged quadrupel, and a Spanish brewed local offering at that. The beer promised a strong malt taste with plenty of cherries which swung it for me over some lighter beers on the menu, many of them also from the I.C.A. brewery but sadly this was the only beer of theirs that I managed to try on this trip; hopefully I’ll pick up a few more on my next visit to the city.

Appearance (4/5): Dark mahogany coloured with a thin, foamy head that is half a centimetre tall and slightly off-white, sitting with a bubbly texture and some faint lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (6/10): Dark malts and plenty of cherries kick things off here as expected, there was some faint alcohol coming through as well but thankfully it was less pronounced than I’d feared given it was such a strong beer. There was a nice combination of dark fruits near the middle with some raisins and dates both featuring but the cherries from the start still dominated. Towards the end things started to fade a little quickly and at times it seemed lighter and less complex than you’d expect from such a big beer but it was still fairly nice throughout.
Taste (7/10): Following on well from the nose, there was again a nice combination of cherries and very dark malts with some dates and raisins coming through slightly earlier this time around. I managed to get some light alcohol again but it seemed a fraction stronger than with the nose, there was some pleasant spices and a touch of bourbon at this stage too. Still not as strong as you’d expect from an 11.5% beer but slightly more complex than with the nose, the beer was fairly sweet down the stretch with some sugars and ripe fruits featuring too.
Palate (3/5): Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, this one was a strong offering with some alcohol showing but it was still a lot lighter and less pronounced than you’d have expected from the high alcohol content. It wasn’t a particularly complex offering either, besides some early spice and a darker fruits there wasn’t much coming through at all and it bordered on basic at times; it’s definitely not a beer than impressed me much sadly.

Overall (12/20): Quite disappointing overall really, this one wasn’t an overly strong or complex offering and to be honest that’s what you expect when you pick up an 11.5% abv. beer. The promised malts and cherries were in attendance from early on which meant things got off to a decent enough start but there wasn’t much following on from there and it was all a bit underwhelming really. Some alcohol grains and a touch of spice make an appearance nearer the end, there was some further ripe fruits and sugars too but it definitely wasn’t complex and it was one that I just couldn’t get into really.

Brewed In: Barcelona, Spain
Brewery: Instituto de la Cerveza Artesana (I.C.A.)
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Quadrupel
Abv: 11.5%
Serving: Draught (250ml)
Purchased: Abirradero, Barcelona, Spain
Price: €4.50 (approx. £3.93)

Blackjack The River

August 3, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.9

The last of the four beers that I picked up in Manchester now, after a recent visit to the city in late May of this year. The beer follows on from the bottle of Squawk Porter I had recently as another offering that I picked up from the Beermoth bottle shop in Manchester are it was recommended that I visit. The reason for picking up this beer is because I was down in the city for a Bruce Springsteen concert on his The River tour and it would have been a shame not to grab a beer sharing a name with the tour. Described on the bottle as being a ‘Farmhouse Brown Ale’, I was quite intrigued when I spotted this on the shelf and to be honest I’m not really sure what to expect. Of the few mentions of the beer I’ve since looked at online, it appears to be leaning more to the bitter/brown ale side of things but it should be interesting to see if it resembles a saison or farmhouse ale any when I crack it open; either way, it’s a new type of beer and one that I’m definitely looking forward to sampling now.

Blackjack The River

Appearance (3/5): Caramel brown in colour and quite dark looking with some amber touches running through it and a cloudy appearance. The beer had quite a large head that sat several inches tall and initially seemed to grow some, sitting as quite a foamy, dome shaped one on top of the beer that managed to leave nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a strong nose to this one and plenty of earthy notes to open things up alongside some grain and a very nutty base to proceedings. There was a slightly odd aroma around the middle that I couldn’t quite put my finger on but assumed it was the brewery’s attempt and getting some of the promised saison qualities in there and it was a failed attempt at some funky notes; if there was any then the malts definitely drowned them out. There was a lot of bitterness towards the end and the beer certainly seemed like an English style brown ale on the nose, no sign of anything else really.
Taste (6/10): Following on from the nose, the taste was quite malty too but there was a touch more variety at least with some faint funk in there and a few roasted flavours. It definitely wasn’t anything special but it was nice to see the odd biscuit malt around the middle and some faint citrus down the stretch.
Palate (3/5): A medium bodied beer that wasn’t particularly interesting really, it was quite dry though and generally had a fairly nutty feel to it with some grain and rough patches in there too. The finish was also a dry one that came through with quite a bit of bitterness as well.

Overall (10/20): This one was quite an average beer overall and definitely one that disappointed me personally given that fact I was looking forward to a nice saison/brown ale hybrid beer but in fact was greeted by a basic brown ale that featured a touch of funk around the middle. The beer was dominated by English style malts and a strong nutty taste with little else save for some basic funk and citrus to vary things; a poor effort and not one that I’d go back to.

Brewed In: Denton, Greater Manchester, England
Brewery: Blackjack Beers
First Brewed: circa. 2012
Type: Brown Ale/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 4.8%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Beermoth (Manchester)
Price: £2.40

Kihoskh Brown Braids Ale

April 18, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.35

The first of two ‘Kihoskh’ beers from Mikkeller that I picked up in the Copenhagen store of the same name on my recent trip to the city and it will be my sixteenth offering thus far from the brewery. I picked this one up alongside a bottle of Kihoskh Ipalot in the same store I grabbed the previously reviewed Tiger Baby, and enjoyed it on my penultimate day in the Danish capital, having only opted for this one after spotting it as part of a multi-buy offer in the Kihoskh store, not realising that at the time that it was a store exclusive collaboration with Mikkeller. As I previously mentioned, Kihoskh was a store I wish I’d know had a basement prior to visiting but despite me not going downstairs, the shop had a massive selection of Mikkeller beers in their fridges (easily the most I’ve seen in one place) as well as a few big name American beers that are pretty much impossible to find in the UK but I’m happy to have went for this one in the since it’s unlikely to be available anywhere else.

Kihoskh Brown Braids Ale

Appearance (4/5): Medium brown in colour with a large, inch tall head that’s foamy looking and holds well initially before halving in size after about a minute and there was quite a few bubbles rising to the surface of the beer, although it took quite an aggressive pour form a head of this size.
Aroma (6/10): This one was a really light beer on the nose sadly, there was some semi-sweet notes and a background caramel aroma to open things up along with a few lighter malts but overall it seemed a touch subdued. There was some faint chocolate coming through around the middle followed by the odd grassy hop and touch of citrus at the end.
Taste (7/10): Like the nose, the taste was a lot lighter than expected from this one with a pretty basic flavour as well. There was some earthy malts and light caramel to open things up before some burnt malts and a little chocolate started to come through but it seemed quite one-dimensional in the early going. There was some touches of citrus and orange that sneaked through with a semi-sweet bitterness that was complimented by some citrus and floral hops towards the end of this one; nice enough but certainly not as dark or full of flavour as I’d expected.
Palate (3/5): A very smooth beer that came through with some subtle sweetness and a moderate bitterness but still seemed weak and lighter than expected, sitting somewhere around a light-medium bodied beer. It was fairly easy-going but definitely basic with average carbonation and a pleasant balance.

Overall (13/20): This one was at times an interesting beer with a few hints of a light IPA coming through but to be honest it was also a pretty forgettable beer with the nose a little weak and the taste seeming quite one-dimensional but other than that it was okay I guess. I’d been expecting a lot more malts and roasted flavours, perhaps with a lightly hopped, bitter taste that hinted at some sweetness but what I got was a basic, light and disappointing beer (by Mikkeller standards).

Brewed In: Copenhagen, Denmark
Brewery: Mikkeller
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Kihoskh (Copenhagen)
Price: 28 Danish Krone (approx. £3.08)

Brewdog Hopped-Up Brown Ale

April 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.05

A 2015 Prototype Challenge offering from Brewdog now and the only one of the four they released in December last year that I managed to grab a bottle of at the time, although it turns out that I managed to try their B-Side Milk Stout on-tap which later became their Jet Black Heart; variations of a beer that featured in the challenge. The eventual winner of the competition was in fact the new headline offering from the brewery, their Jet Black Heart nitro milk stout which took over 40% of the votes whereas this brown ale ended up coming last of the four and taking about 12% of the votes cast so I’m not particularly optimistic going into this one after reading up on it a little. As I found in previous years, there is usually one good or average beer in these types of four pack releases from Brewdog and the rest is basically filler, although the year both Jack Hammer and Cocoa Psycho featured together back in 2012 is an exception that strings to mind and I wonder if that is something the brewery has been attempting to avoid a repeat of since. Anyway, here’s a review of only my second brown ale from Brewdog and the first since trying their #Mashtag 2013 in September of that year; wish me luck.

Brewdog Hopped-Up Brown Ale

Appearance (4/5): A semi-clear body that is a medium brown in colour and it’s topped with a slightly off-white head that is creamy looking and sticks to the sides of the glass slightly; retention is pretty good too with little movement over the opening couple minutes, holding even as I worked my way down the glass.
Aroma (6/10): This one starts with a slightly malty nose that comes through with some bread notes and touches of light caramel notes. There’s a few citrus hops that are a little fruity coming through soon after the malts and there was a little mango making an appearance too. It seems quite balanced on the nose with some light sugars and a few background fruits but it didn’t seem a particularly strong beer on the nose to be honest.
Taste (5/10): Matching the nose, this one again starts quite malty with some earthy flavours and nutty touches coming through. There was a little caramel and toffee showing itself towards the middle of the beer but the hops from the nose are definitely less pronounced at this stage, although some did appear. There was a touch of sweetness and some faint mango and citrus coming through but it could have been a little stronger and closer to it was with the nose. Towards the end there was a moderate bitterness and some subtle chocolate flavouring as well as the nice roasted taste that seen things out.
Palate (3/5): This one came with a light-medium body and a slight tang from the citrus hops as well as a moderate bitterness off the back of that which stayed towards the end. The beer could have used a fuller body and the balance wasn’t a particularly good one really but at the same time it wasn’t the worst either. The finish was a little harsh with an earthy feel that was semi-dry and moderately carbonated as well.

Overall (11/20): This one started okay with some nice citrus hops and a little mango sitting on top of a malty, almost earthy base that also featured a rounded, nutty flavour but things started to fade pretty quickly after that to be honest. Come the taste, the mango and fruits were a little less pronounced as you sipped away at the beer and with the exception of the nose, the balance was a pretty poor one with the finish seeming quite harsh too. I can see why this one came last out of the four beers in the prototype challenge, it’s miles behind the winner Jet Black Heart and I can’t imagine this is one that Brewdog will resurrect at any point in the future either.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: American Brown Ale
Abv: 6.3%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Drygate Bottle Shop (Glasgow)
Price: £2.20

Trappistes Rochefort 6

April 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.2

My second beer from the Rochefort brewery is one that has been a long time coming and follows on from their Trappistes Rochefort 10 offering that I first tried way back in September of 2012. That one was a beer that I really enjoyed and at the time I made a conscious decision to grab the other beers from the brewery that I’d seen, namely their Trappistes Rochefort 6 and 8 offerings but for various reasons I’m only just getting round to trying a second. This particular beer is the oldest from the brewery, having been launched around 1953 and is an Abbey Dubbel style offering that I recently picked up at a Whole Foods Market store in Giffnock as it had been a while since I’d stumbled across a bottle and thought it about time that I actually picked one up. Apparently this one is the least commonly available of the three Rochefort beer with brewing only taking place one or two times a year which might explain why I’ve not seen it as much as the others of late. Currently ranked at the 5th best dubbel on BeerAdvocate, it’s not quite as highly rated as the Rochefort 10 I enjoyed previously but I’m still looking forward to finally finding out what this beer is all about.

Trappist Rochefort 6

Appearance (5/5): Pouring a copper amber colour and topped with a centimetre and a half tall head that is quite foamy and thick looking, this one comes with a hazy body and the head holds pretty well over the opening minute before increasing in size slightly thanks to the strong visible carbonation; there is also a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Starting with quite a thick and strong nose, there is a lot of bread malts and sweetness to kick things off thanks to some ripe fruits making an appearance in the early going. There was some plums and figs in the early going plus some touches of caramel before bread malts and faint hops came through around the middle before some spice and faint herbal appeared. Right at the end there was a few perfume light notes plus a little apricot to see things out.
Taste (8/10): There was some nice sweetness in the early going with a few caramel malts and some bread to kick things off before the dark fruits from the nose started to come through; both the figs and the plums were present along with grapes and apricot too. There was a faint yeast flavour and some spice sitting around the middle before brown sugars and earthy hops came through towards the end.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and well-carbonated, there is some nice sweetness in the early goings thanks to the dark fruits and a few sugars. There wasn’t much in the way of bitterness through, even with the odd hop showing but the beer was a balanced and slightly dry one that smooth throughout and very easy to drink; nice stuff again from Rochefort.

Overall (16/20): A second very nice beer from Rochefort, this one isn’t as strong, full-bodied or flavoursome as their Rochefort 10 but that was to be expected really; it was still an excellent beer in its own right with some great fruity sweetness and sugars coming through on top of a well-balanced body. I liked the touches of caramel that made an appearance early on and their was a few light malts that worked well with them making this one quite an enjoyable beer; I’m definitely looking forward to getting hold of Rocherfort 8 the next chance I get now.

Brewed In: Rochefort, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
First Brewed: 1953
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £2.99

Modus Operandi

October 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

A fourth beer from The Wild Beer Company now, their Modus Operandi is a beer that I’ve read a lot about and one that I’ve been on the look out for since I discovered it was one of the new beers to feature in the updated version of the 1001 Beers list. Despite the fac that I’m not working off of the updated version of the list it was still part of the reason I grabbed this one when I stumbled upon it in the Brewdog bottle shop, BottleDog, in London’s Kings Cross area on a visit to the city over the summer. The bottle I’m drinking also mentions that is used “Wild Yeast 2014” on the bottle and it’s one that I’m very much looking forward to given I’ve not tried a great deal of old ales, hopefully this one will inspire me to pick up a few more.

Modus Operandi

Appearance (4/5): A dark ruby to brown colour with a centimetre tall head that is quite creamy and had some touches of sediment sitting on it. It’s quite a lively looking beer with great head retention, there is no movement at all over the opening three to five minutes.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a sour beer on the nose to begin with, there’s a lot of yeast coming through alongside some nice vinegar notes and a little tart too. The beer has some dark, ripe fruits with some grapes, cherries and a few sugars to round things off.
Taste (6/10): A sour and tarty tasting beer with lots of sweetness to kick things off, there is some yeast in there and a few sugars as well. There was some dark fruits and grapes coming through around the middle that hints at a red wine taste before some berries and vinegar see things out.
Palate (3/5): A smooth and tarty beer with plenty of sweetness but even more sourness, especially early on. The beer semi-dry one that has a medium body and a nice tang to it as well. The beer is quite well carbonated and the balance is okay but the tart and funky flavours definitely dominate.

Overall (14/20): Not a bad effort from Wild Beer, it was definitely a tarty and quite fruity beer with plenty of sourness showing from the very start. It was one that seemed a lot like a Belgian style beer, particularly a Flanders red ale like the bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne that I had very recently but it wasn’t quite as good as that one really. I enjoyed the beer and it went down easily but if I’m honest it’s probably not one that I’d go back to again.

Brewed In: Shepton Maller, Somerset, England
Brewery: The Wild Beer Co.
First Brewed: 2012
Type: Old Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BottleDog (London)
Price: £5.00

Affligem Dubbel

Rating: 3.75

A Belgian beer that I managed to try over in Amsterdam recently and a beer that for one reason or another I thought featured in the 1001 beers list, as it happens it does not but the beer still gets some very good reviews online where it is currently rated the 29th best Dubbel according to the BeerAdvocate website. I tried this one in a pub just off of Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam at the start of last month and presentation wise the beer was amazing looking, coming out in a beautiful v-shaped chalice which was quite surprising given the type of pub I was, although since this beer is now falls under the Heineken umbrella I probably shouldn’t be too shocked.
Affligem Dubbel

Appearance (4/5): Copper amber with a thin, quarter centimetre tall head made up of plenty of fine bubbles with some foamy patches and a touch more build up around the sides of the glass. The head just about covers the surface after a few moments and overall the beer looks fairly pleasant.
Aroma (7/10): Not a particularly strong smelling beer on the nose, at least not initially anyway. There is some sweet malts and touches of toffee and caramel coming through with plenty of sugars but it took a little time for it to open up and allow me to detect much of anything at all. I also got some dark, dried fruits coming through, most notably some dates ad plum but also a faint touch of raisin before some apples and a general freshness made an appearance.
Taste (7/10): Sweet tasting with some sticky toffee and caramel coming through first with some sweet malts and a few earthy flavours but it’s the sweetness that comes through strongest. There is a few background fruits and sugars adding to this with plums and dates again featuring alongside some apricot and a few cherries but these are considerably more faint.
Palate (4/5): Smooth with a few sticky patches in places and a medium body that boasted moderate carbonation and a faint dryness towards the end. The balance of the beer was a good one with the caramel and toffee combining well and there was a very faint touch of bitterness right at the end too.

Overall (15/20): This one was a surprisingly good for a beer that was so easy to find in the Netherlands, a really nice Abbey style beer that was very well balanced with plenty of sweetness coming through from the offset but thankfully never really overpowered. The beer was an easy one to drink and is one that I wouldn’t mind picking up again in future.

Brewed In: Opwijk, Flemish Brabant
Brewery: Brouwerij De Smedt (Brouwerij Affligem)
First Brewed: Brewery since 1970
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Rembrandt Bar, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: €4.00 (approx. £2.96)